NEW ALBANY — One of the oldest businesses in New Albany will close its doors after 134 years.
Bob Caesar, owner of Endris Jewelers, confirmed Friday afternoon he plans to retire and close the business once its merchandise has been sold.
Caesar, 64, and a New Albany City Councilman, has worked for Endris Jewelers for 42 years. His father purchased the store in the 1960s.
“I’ve had a lot of wonderful customers, and a lot of wonderful, wonderful experiences,” Caesar said. “This is very hard, but I feel like this is something I need to do.”
Endris Jewelers opened in 1880, and is located in the heart of downtown New Albany at 314 Pearl St.
Caesar said he has some minor health issues and wants to spend more time traveling with his wife, Jean, in the coming years. He emotionally recalled a conversation he had with his late friend, Mike Naville, who passed away this year.
Naville told him once he felt like he had about eight good years left. Caesar said he feels the same, and wants to dedicate that time to his family.
He emphasized he has no major health issues, and will remain active in New Albany civic opportunities and likely will seek another term on the council next year.
Caesar said he wanted to close the store in 2008, but realized it would be a big blow to the community because of the history of Endris Jewelers.
“The emotional part is gut-wrenching,” he said.
Caesar experienced an “emotional and cultural shock” when he began working at Endris Jewelers in 1972. Having worked at an auto parts store before making the switch, he was used to being greeted by customers who were upset because their vehicle was broken down.
At Endris Jewelers, people were happy because they were shopping for engagements, marriages and anniversaries.
“I just really enjoyed being in business here,” Caesar said.
After consulting several people locally and others in the profession around the country, Caesar said he decided that closing the store instead of selling the business to another owner was the best move.
An exact date hasn’t been set, but Caesar said the store will likely remain open through the end of the year.
“I’ve got a whole lot of wonderful merchandise that needs to be sold,” he said. “Nothing is being marked up to mark down. This is a real legitimate sale.”